UNDP and MAS partner to assist developing nations’ SMEs

Photo by Marley Clovelly

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed a partnership agreement to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) leverage technology to better access global value chains.

The partnership will provide SMEs with innovative financial and digital tools to help them better leverage data and more effectively access financing solutions. It will also create new opportunities for SMEs, including FinTechs, to expand to developing countries within the UNDP’s global network of 170 offices.

This partnership will start by bringing together three successful programmes from UNDP and MAS, namely Cultiv@te, Business sans Borders and API Exchange. Cultiv@te is UNDP’s innovative agri-tech programme that sources for new solutions from startups and R&D teams worldwide.

Business sans Borders (BSB) is a joint initiative by MAS and Infocomm Media Development Authority to provide an open and global digital infrastructure for seamless trade discovery and digital business services connectivity. API Exchange (APIX) is an MAS-supported cross-border, open innovation API platform which acts as a curated global marketplace for financial institutions and FinTechs.

SMEs play a critical role in the global economy, especially in developing countries. Yet these companies face significant challenges to access financing to support their growth. This problem has been further exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership between MAS and UNDP will help in three areas, facilitating global outreach by SMEs, accessing innovative financial and digital tools, and enabling better access to global value chains.

Where it makes sense, UNDP will also connect its various innovation efforts to the BSB hub Sandbox – a growing repository of data and problem statements – to help innovators design and develop solutions to improve services for SMEs.

 “SMEs drive growth in the developing world, and strong, digitally-linked SMEs are crucial to the world’s recovery from the pandemic. We are thrilled to partner with MAS to help prototype and scale innovative financial solutions across the developing world,” said Bradley Busetto, Director of the UNDP Global Centre Singapore.

 “We are delighted to work with UNDP to address crucial issues that SMEs face. SMEs will play an important role in restoring growth in the broader economy impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Advancements in technology have paved the way for the purposeful integration of financial services solutions across sectors, such as FinTech powering agri-trades,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS.

“The close cooperation between MAS and UNDP to leverage Cultiv@te, BSB and APIX will make technology and financial services more accessible to parts of the regional and global economy and bring about more inclusive growth,” he concluded.